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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Log Jam


 

 

Black tips of the long hooking white horns cut

The roof of the forest like twin dorsal fins.  Breathing

Heavily, boots unlaced, Paul Bunyan stumbled in the

Mindless, pulverized wake of the ox.

Its blood and ash flecked snout

Spewed smoke.  Where the hell's

My hat, my ax, he asked

Out loud.  He sat, mopping the great pale cliff

Of his forehead, listening to distant explosions, choking

On gasoline fumes.  He'd known this would happen

Eventually.  Nothing lasts forever.  An army

Transport came flying out of the forest

Into the clearing, catching him right

On the ball of his ankle.  Goddamn it he hissed, limping off a

Distance as the truck's engine exploded, bodies drooping from

The windows like drying wash.  A couple of soldiers

Hopped out the back and ran into the forest.

As of now, he thought

Or said out loud,

there's no way back. 

This, he thought, 

Is a much different story. 

He could hear the beast

Roaring in the distance. 

The rest of the story unfurled

In his mind like acrid smoke. 

He’d been recast.  No longer

Did the wilderness need tamed. 

He saw how it would end, and shrugged.

Paul Bunyan stood, ground his heel against the smoking heap of tin,

And went to reap the brittle souls of men. 


                                       -Adam Phillips